As some of you will recall from my far too many posts about getting married, it has finally happened and I have now married my life partner. We decided as a couple to share our ceremony. I know personally I wanted to put out into the world a feminist wedding ceremony that encompassed equality, partnership, friendship and love into one (kick-ass) ceremony that many different kinds of couples could use on their special day. Below is what we vowed to each other in front of a small group of family.
Welcome everyone! I know the couple is very honored and happy that you have made it here today. They are excited to share in their joy and hopes for the future with you. This day, is very special and means a lot to these two people. They would like you all to know how seriously they take the vows they are about to make to each other and hope that from this day forward, you help remind them of these vows they are making. They’ve also come here today in the further hope that their ritual of bonding will help bring us all closer together. If you are here tonight with a spouse or a partner let this ceremony be a reminder—a rededication of your own loving bond.
Now [insert both names], you have let it be known that it is your firm understanding that you are not entering into this marriage for reasons of security… that the only real security is not in owning or possessing, nor in being owned or possessed…not in demanding or expecting, and not even in hoping, that what you think you need in life will be supplied by the other….but rather in knowing that everything you need in life…all of the love, all of the wisdom, all the insights, all the power, all the knowledge, all the understanding, all the nurturing, all the compassion, and all the strength….resides within you…and that you are not each marrying the other in hopes of getting these things, but in hopes of giving these gifts, that the other might have them in even greater abundance.
It is also known that you do not see marriage as producing obligations but rather as providing opportunities…
Opportunities for growth, for full Self-expression for lifting your lives to their highest potential, for healing every false thought or small idea you ever had about yourself. It is also about a journey through life with the one you love as an equal partner sharing equally both the authority and the responsibilities inherent in any partnership, bearing equally what burdens there be, basking equally in the glories.
Is that your firm understanding of this ceremony? (Both responds, “it is.”)
[Insert both names], as the two of you come into this marriage uniting you as life partners, and as you, on this day affirm your love for one another, I would ask that you always remember to cherish each other as special and unique individuals. That you respect the thoughts, ideas and suggestions of one another. Be able to forgive and live each day, so that you may share it together. Moving forward you shall be each other’s home, comfort and refuge in times of trouble, and that your marriage will be strengthened by your love and respect.
Just as two threads woven in opposite directions will form a most beautiful tapestry, so too can your two lives merged together make a beautiful marriage. To make your relationship thrive, it will take work. But love and friendship are the core of your marriage and why you are here today. It will take trust, to know in your hearts that you truly want the best for each other. It will take dedication, to stay open and honest with one another. It will take patience to learn and grow together. It will take faith, to go forward together without knowing exactly what the future brings.
And it will take commitment, to hold true to the journey you both pledge today to share together.
Statement of Intent:
[Insert both names], do you to enter into this marriage believing the love you both share and your faith in each other will endure all things? (Couple responds, “I do.”)
May I please have the rings?
A circle is the symbol that has no beginning and no end. May these rings always be a symbol of this unity. Your two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever you may go, may you always return to each other in your togetherness. May you find in each other the love that you desire, and may you grow together in compassion and understanding. May these rings symbolize the touch of love that is in your hearts today.
[Insert both names], will now say their vows to each other.
“I (name), take you (name) to be my partner in life and my one true love. I will cherish our union and promise to fall in love with you a little more every day. I will love what I know of you, and trust what I do not yet know. I eagerly anticipate the chance to grow together, getting to know the (man/woman) you will become. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, sickness and health, regardless of the obstacles we may face together. I will delight in our relationship and comfort you in times of sorrow. I will share in your dreams, and support you as you strive to achieve your goals. I will listen to you with compassion and understanding, and speak to you with encouragement. I will continue to be by your side through all of life’s adventures. I vow to never stop fighting for you or our relationship.
I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as I live.”
Throughout this ceremony, these two people have vowed, in our presence, to be loyal and loving towards each other. They have formalized the existence of the bond between them with words spoken and with the giving and receiving of rings.
[Insert both names], may your home be a place of happiness for all who enter it; a place for growing and a place for sharing, a place for music and a place for laughter, and a place for love.
You have kissed a thousand times, maybe more, but today the feeling is new.Today, your kiss is a promise. And now, as a symbol of the commitment you both enter as life partners, you may now kiss.
(Pause for kiss)
And now by the authority granted me by [governing body name], it is my pleasure to introduce the newlyweds, [insert name(s) as couple sees fit].
(Like the photos? Visit Justine Montigny for more of her beautiful work!)